Posted in Christian

God the Giver


Perhaps those seventy (Luke 10:1-23) were tempted, on hearing Jesus’ words, to receive them as a carte blanche of authority or merely as a theological truth, something theoretical that puts God’s stamp of approval on the message.  They were about to learn, on the ground, that this commission was not for their own benefit, nor was it mere theory or correct doctrine.  Rather, Jesus is drawing them into the modus operandi of God himself!  God had entrusted to them a delivery blessed above all other things, a message concerning the gift of his own self to the world in Jesus.  As they continued in mission, as they saw what would happen, these missionaries would come to understand more deeply what it meant to deliver God’s gift.  The delivery begins by entering into homes, healing the sick, and announcing the nearness of God.  It may involve rejection and, eventually for some, the harsh enactment of it by their own martyrdom.  (Stephen is on most of the traditional lists of the seventy.)  By the time that their entire life’s mission was accomplished, they would understand more fully the message that they bore (for Cleopas, also named as one of the seventy, would be further taught by Jesus, hearing about the grave necessity of Messiah’s death, leading to the resurrection, cf.  Luke 24:26-27).  They would also understand more fully their own place within the community that Jesus had forged by the Holy Spirit, not as autocratic leaders, but as servants who were privileged to be with Jesus. Perhaps John the elder articulates this communal understanding best in, 1 John 1:1, 3. Cleopas Cleopas

Scripture and Tradition
by Edith M. Humphrey

Posted in Christian

In Christ Jesus


Especially important in the argument of the letter (Galatians) is the idea of incorporation into Christ.  God promised to bless the nations “in” Abraham (3:8), and that blessing is now given to all who belong to Christ (3:14) because he is the (singular!) “seed” of Abraham (3:16).  So, Paul concludes in the climax of his theological argument, “in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” (3:26).  Incorporation into Christ is a fundamental theological concept in the letter (as it is in Paul’s theology generally).  It is the theological center from which the various lines of Paul’s theological reasoning radiate.  Those who are “ in Christ” enjoy the “blessing of Abraham,” in the context of justification (3:14); and “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (5:24).  Thus both justification and sanctification are given believers via their union with Christ—the “double gift” that Calvin is especially concerned to emphasize.”

by Douglas J. Moo